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New guidelines for Barry and Eaton counties, new mandate for City of Lansing

(WMC)
Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 3:09 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, Mich. (WILX) - Both Eaton and Barry counties are now classified at the substantial community transmission level. As a result, the Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) has recommended face mask wearing for all individuals while indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status.

The recommendation is in line with those of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which updated their guidance for mask wearing on July 27. In addition, given the new evidence presented by the delta variant, the CDC is also recommending indoor face masks for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.

Although masks are being recommended regardless of vaccination status, vaccinations are still strongly encouraged by both the BEDHD and the CDC. Although the delta variant is sometimes able to spread via a vaccinated individual, being vaccinated lowers the chance of spreading significantly, and also significantly reduces the severity of symptoms when they do arise.

Sarah Surna, a Community Health Promotion Specialist for the BEDHD, explained why vaccines are so strongly recommended in a press release.

“BEDHD also highly encourages vaccination against COVID-19,” Surna wrote.All three available vaccines prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19, even the delta variant. Vaccines are in high supply and are easy and free to receive.”

Eaton County has a case rate of 52.6 per 100,000 persons and a test positivity rate of 5.78%. It is classified as substantial as of Thursday. Barry County rose to the substantial classification earlier this week, with a case rate of 73.11 per 100,000 persons and a test positivity rate of 9.59.

According to Surna, most counties neighboring the district have also met the substantial transmission threshold.

Shortly following the announcement by the BEDHD, the City of Lansing took precautions a step farther. Mayor Andy Schor announced Thursday afternoon that the public must wear masks within City of Lansing facilities starting Monday, Aug. 9.

“The City of Lansing and Ingham County are now seeing an increase in the spread of COVID-19 in our area. To protect Lansing residents and City employees, I am requiring that all members of the public wear masks while inside of City facilities, regardless of vaccination status,” said Mayor Andy Schor. “In light of the most recent data we’ve received from the Ingham County Health Department, this is the best way to keep our community safe. To help further slow the spread, I ask all who are able to do so, to get the vaccine as soon as possible.”

Lansing City Council will continue in-person meetings and all participants are expected to wear masks.

“It’s unfortunate that we’re experiencing these completely avoidable increased transmission rates and that this mask mandate is necessary. But I stand shoulder to shoulder with Mayor Schor and will require face coverings for City Council members, City staff, and members of the public at all Council and committee meetings. The quickest way to end these requirements and this pandemic is for more residents to get vaccinated and I encourage all who are eligible to do so,” said City Council President Peter Spadafore.

A map showing the level of community transmission of COVID-19, by state is AVAILABLE HERE.

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